UK Puts Army on Standby as Petrol Pumps Run Dry

By Paul Riegler on 28 September 2021
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A street in London

In Britain, a shortage of truck drivers has led to empty fuel pumps and high fuel prices across the country, resulting in long lines at gas stations that have petrol, panic buying, and a few reports of price gouging.

Petrol prices have hit an eight-year high, the Royal Automobile Club said, due to a rise in the cost of wholesale fuel.

The RAC said that the average price of a litre of petrol across the UK was at the highest level since September 2013.

Across many parts of the country, petrol stations, as they are called in Britain, are running out of fuel, a situation that, for those who were around in the 1970s, gives rise to thoughts of the OPEC oil embargo.  This time, however, there is no actual shortage of fuel. Rather, there is a shortage of drivers trained to deliver it.

The Road Haulage Association, a trade group, has estimated that Britain is facing a shortfall of 100,000 truck drivers, a figure that includes 20,000 – some 20% – who left Britain after it voted in favor of leaving the European Union.  Britain is now offering 5,000 visas to foreign nationals, although few expect that number to accept the offer. The shortage is exacerbated by truck driver retirements as well as a delay in getting new drivers certified due to the pandemic.

Perhaps to little or no avail, the UK government is telling people that, if they wouldn’t panic buy, there would be plenty of petrol to go around for those who need it for work. Many officials as well as everyday citizens are concerned about vehicles used by first responders – from ambulances to police cars to fire trucks – having sufficient petrol and the British Medical Association said it would like to see some filling stations give priority to such workers.

Meanwhile, the UK government has put the army on standby, ordering 150 fuel tanker drivers to be ready to step in if necessary.

Finally, for drivers who might wish to buy an electric vehicle and avoid using petrol or diesel at all, there would be a six-month weight for a new car, due to the global supply chain shortage for semiconductors, or “chips” as they are referred to.    The shortage has constrained global automobile production by up to 40% in the case of some automakers.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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